Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Rex Brothers, Huston Street, more

by Nicholas Minnix on June 4, 2013 @ 14:15:10 PDT

 

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KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.

Job Security (JS):
1 (unstable)
to
5 (untouchable)
Health Outlook (HO):
1 (fragile)
to
5 (durable)
: Up
 
+: Added
 
INJ: Injured
: Down
 
M: Minors
 
DL: Disabled List

 

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Colorado Rockies
4
5
Rafael Betancourt DL Rex Brothers Wilton Lopez
Matt Belisle

This past weekend, the Colorado Rockies resorted to a DL stint for Betancourt (strained right groin). The staff was optimistic that their closer would be fine a few days after he received anti-inflammatory medication a couple of weeks ago. Since, the right-hander has yielded two runs each in each of two of his three appearances, and discomfort has been an antagonist.

Cleveland Indians RP Vinnie Pestano
O Brothers, thou art closing

According to multiple reports, Betancourt has been dealing with some sort of issue in the area for most of the season. The 38-year-old isn't experiencing much, if any, pain, but if there's an underlying problem, it may take longer than expected to heal, or the veteran may be tempted to return earlier than he should.

Those who've invested in Brothers may not have long to enjoy him, but they should be mildly optimistic about the possibility that he'll have more value than they anticipated. Given the way that Brothers, the possible closer of the future in Denver, has pitched (a 0.36 ERA, 9.12 K/9 and 4.38 BB/9), it may not hurt to keep him around, even well after Betancourt comes back.

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
San Diego Padres
5
3
Huston Street DL Luke Gregerson
Dale Thayer
Brad Brach
Brad Boxberger

As May was about to expire, it occurred to Street that he hadn't yet visited the DL this season. It was definitely an overdue appointment. The San Diego Padres' closer strained his left calf -- the same muscle that caused him so much grief in 2012 -- while running prior to his club's game on Friday. The righty was confident that this ailment isn't be as serious as last year's.

This scenario's script reads a bit like that from last August and September, despite (and in part because of) Street's assurances. The righty is a notoriously slow healer. The main difference this time is that, so far, there are no posthumous (if you will) reports of soreness in the area prior to the injury's occurrence.

Street may very well miss only the minimum 15 days. Fantasy owners should know that a bet on Street is anything besides safe, however. The terms of Gregerson and, to a lesser extent, Thayer may be a little longer than Bud Black planned. And don't discard them right away; Street delayed his recovery last season by aggravating his nearly healed strain while ... running.

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Seattle Mariners
4
5
Tom Wilhelmsen Stephen Pryor DL Carter Capps
Yoervis Medina

Wilhelmsen endured what is heretofore the worst of his struggles this season on Saturday, when he surrendered three runs on a hit and three free passes to the Minnesota Twins to blow a chance and take an L. The right-hander recorded only one out. On Monday night, he logged a save against the Chicago White Sox, but not before yielding a run on a hit and a walk.

The Seattle Mariners' closer appears to have reached the point at which a turnaround is up to him, mentally. The M's are in no hurry to remove him from the role, as Carl Willis stated to The News Tribune. The pitching coach believes that Wilhelmsen's dip in velocity this past weekend is a byproduct of, basically, trying too hard. This is likely something that the righty can easily change.

Whatever the cause -- Willis' explanation being the least alarming possibility -- poor control, trouble getting ahead and reduced pitch speed are all snowball effects, however. Wilhelmsen is clearly feeling a pressure with which he's unfamiliar, judging from his comments.

The peace of mind is almost certainly worth more to a Wilhelmsen owner than is a speculative bid for Seattle saves to a league-mate. Capps doesn't cost much when there's no suggestion that a change is possible. In the event that Wilhelmsen falters well into June, one can breathe easily.

To the mound....

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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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